Item description for Fortress Introduction to CONTEMPORARY THEOLOGIES by Ed L. Miller, L. Miller & Stanley J. Grenz...
Overview Sometimes we're too close to our own century to make sense of it, but Miller and Grenz have done an outstanding job of highlighting the contributions and central ideas of Barth, Niebuhr, Bultmann, Tillich, Bonhoeffer, Altizer, Cobb, Moltmann, Pannenberg, Gutierrez, Ruether, Hick, and Lindbeck.
Publishers Description A reader-friendly, basic introduction that maps the central ideas of the major theologians of the twentieth century, easily accessible to both the theological student and the inquiring lay reader.
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Studio: Fortress Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.64" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.61" Weight: 0.78 lbs.
Release Date Aug 1, 1998
Publisher Augsburg Fortress Publishers
ISBN 0800629817 ISBN13 9780800629816
Availability 0 units.
More About Ed L. Miller, L. Miller & Stanley J. Grenz
Ed L. Miller holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Southern California and a Doctorate of Theology from the University of Basel, Switzerland. He has taught for the last thirty years at the University of Colorado, Boulder. In addition to being a member of the philosophy faculty, he also teaches for the Religious Studies Department and is Director of the Theology Forum. He is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the Society of Christian Philosophers, and Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas.
Reviews - What do customers think about Fortress Introduction to CONTEMPORARY THEOLOGIES?
The Modern Liberal Foundation Mar 2, 2006
Authors Miller and Grenz attempt to do that which is certainly daunting in the field of theological studies. They provide an overview of the various theologies which have shaped the religious landscape during the twentieth century. What makes this seem intimidating to many writers is the fact that the men whose theological minds are parlayed in the book are some of the more complex giants in the study of theology.
The authors begin with an overview of Karl Barth, whom they consider "the greatest theologian of the twentieth century." This is followed by no less than the brothers Niebuhr, then Bultmann, Tillich, and Bonhoffer. One immediately gets the impression that real theology in the twentieth century was born of European stock, particularly German and Swiss. The early exception in this opening list is Tillich, and even he was German born. The point is not that there were no other theological views, nor that such perspectives are non-relational to the rest of the world, but that it was the European outlook which held sway in these formative years.
There are of course other views presented in the book, such as the liberation theology of Gustavo Gutierrez, and the more personal application of such by Rosemary Ruether's theological feminism. Nevertheless, it will be insights from the likes of Barth, Bultmann, Tillich, Cobb, Pannenberg, and Hick which will probably make the book worthwhile to students of modern theology.
Astute readers in the field of theology will note the glaring absence of any voices from the more conservative persuasion, which could be due in large part to the authors' own theological bent. Still, in the pursuit of fairness such a discussion could have been helpful and made the book a bit more balanced. Clearly an overview of the works by men like Henry, Packer, Berkhof, or Schaeffer would have been insightful, and the absence of such a discussion reveals one weakness in the book.
Another weakness is perhaps one which cannot be helped, or is at least understandable. Some of the issues covered are quite complex (such as Bultmann's "Demythologizing Program" or Barth's theology of election), and often a general overview of such comes across as somewhat stilted and disconnected. The authors seem to assume at times that the reader has a working knowledge of the history and various applications of the historical-critical method which bear on the discussion at hand. If that is not the case, however, then it is doubtful that an adequate understanding will be achieved.
Nevertheless, the authors do an admirable job in providing that which the book title promises - an introduction to some of the most influential theologians of our time, regardless of how one stands in respect to their presented viewpoints. This makes the book a worthwhile read, and students may very well come away with a deeper appreciation of their own theological tradition.
Maybe "Contemporary German Theologies" plus PC Sep 1, 2005
Unfortunately, this may not be the book you were really looking for. The authors were apparently students of the most recent German theology included in the book, and really decided to write a series of essays on earlier 20th Century German Theologies which lead up to their favorite professor. In order to claim their title for the tome, they throw in four more politically correct essays as an afterthought. Essentially, the book expounds on Dead White European Male (DWEM) thinking of the German Lutheran tradition. The problem is that you may have a hard time telling where the original theologian was standing from where the authors claim he was standing. In my view, all the necessary thinking of contempary German theologians is still available in the original source books. Rather than read about the beliefs of Barth, Bultmann and Bonhoeffer, according to Miller and Grenz, just get the books by Barth, Bultmann and Bonhoeffer and make up your own mind.
A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Editor Feb 21, 2005
On the back of Gary Dorrien's 1998 work THE REMAKING OF EVANGELICAL THEOLOGY, there is a supportive blurb from Stanley Grenz, who laments the fact that most works on "contemporary theology" ignore the contributions of evangelicals. Funny thing: in Grenz's book entitled CONTEMPORARY THEOLOGIES (also published in 1998), Grenz and co-author Ed Miller ignore . . . . evangelical theologians.
Maybe Grenz and Miller thought they were covering evangelicalism with a discussion of Barth, but the interpretive issues surrounding Barth make this problematic. As far as acknowledged evangelicals go, there is a mention of Carl Henry in a footnote, a comparison between Tillich and Billy Graham (probably a first), and a couple of references to C.S. Lewis. That's about it.
In spite of this apparent editorial oversight, this book is quite enjoyable. Grenz and Miller take various schools of contemporary theology and pick one or two theologians as exemplars. Existentialism is discussed in terms of Bultmann, neo-orthodoxy by Barth, feminism with Rosemary Ruether, etc. This is probably the best way to understand any given movement.
A final problem with this book is that it doesn't contain a list of recommended readings. As an example, Barth's output was massive and a student would benefit from some suggestions.
at play in the fields of God Jul 29, 2001
As one who has yet to take any formal training in more academic theology, and having read only a few of the works by the authors discussed in this volume, I come to the subject matter as a novice. And, it is as a novice that I review this work...
There is much to praise in Miller and Grenz' "Introduction to Contemporary Theologies." It is pretty "bottom shelf"--not much intimidating jargon or assuming too much of the audience. The work is written in a very engaging and accessible manner. The footnotes are of some use while not being imposing.
The book also has several weaknesses. It's very brevity forces a great deal of selectivity in what gets discussed. It takes a look at an eclectic assortment of authors. Some are cut and dried theologians...folks like Barth, Bultmann and Pannenberg; others are more popular theologians who wrote for broader audiences...Bonhoeffer being the prime example; others could be described as theologians but also might be considered philosophers or social advocates...Ruether, Gutierrez, and Hick for example.
The authors strive for objectivity by presenting the background and argument of each author and then weaknesses others have found in each author's work. Yet sometimes, it seems that the authors spend more time picking apart the work of certain authors than that of others. The two authors who suffer worst at the their hands are Moltmann and Hick. The discussion of Hick actually degenerates into a debate about tolerance and intolerance.
All other flaws aside, this introduction is seriously in need of some basic bibliographies of the authors discussed. As it stands, if a reader becomes interested in a particular author, then it is left up them as to where to start reading...no help is given.
Each section could also be greatly improved with a discussion of the influence of each author. One who is uninformed in these matters is left with questions. For instance: how did Ruether influence feminism, what is happening with Liberation theology today, and what is the impact of process theology?
All in all, I guess I recommend this book because it has the ability to the reader interested in the theologians discussed. It is by no means comprehensive; it has its definite slants...still, I enjoyed it in spite of itself.
Good Sep 29, 1999
I enjoyed this book. It provides an excellent run-down of the most influental theologies of the 20th Century. However, there is virtually no mention of conservative theologians.